June 30, 2017 (Washington, DC)
- On June 29, the North Carolina Legislature gave final approval to expand opportunities for Sunday hunting with firearms in North Carolina. The Conference Report for
House Bill 559, "Outdoor Heritage Enhanced
," was adopted by the Senate with a 31-11 vote and the House with an 80-25 vote. The bill will now head to the desk of Governor Roy Cooper for his consideration.
HB 559 was sponsored by
North Carolina Legislative Sportsmen's Caucus
Co-Chairs Representative John Bell and Senator John Alexander and Caucus members Representative Chris Millis and Senators Tom McInnis and Danny Earl Britt. The legislation was strongly supported by the North Carolina Legislative Sportsmen's Caucus collectively, and Caucus Co-Chair Representative Michael Wray and Caucus members Senate President Pro Temp Phil Berger, House Speaker Tim Moore, Senator Bill Rabon and Representative Brian Turner, among others, were instrumental in the bill's advancement.
Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation (CSF) Honorary Board Member Richard Childress said, "With over two million acres of Game Lands in North Carolina, HB 559 will help ensure that all North Carolinians have a place to hunt on Sundays. Lack of access is cited as one of the biggest barriers to hunting participation, and I am very pleased that more families will have opportunities to spend time together in the field. As a North Carolinian, this legislation is a tremendous step forward in the advancement of the protection of our outdoor heritage."
If signed by the Governor, HB 559 would build on the 2015 Outdoor Heritage Act to allow Sunday hunting with firearms on public lands that are managed for hunting, subject to rules established by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC). Sunday hunting with firearms would also be neither prohibited within 500 yards of residences not owned by the landowner nor barred in counties with populations larger than 700,000 (i.e. Wake and Mecklenburg Counties), which would expand Sunday hunting with firearms to all 100 counties in the state.
Additionally, HB 559 would remove the prohibition against hunting migratory birds contingent on authorization by proclamation or rules adopted by the NCWRC following the completion of a study conducted by the NCWRC that examines the biological, economic, social, and resource management impacts of allowing migratory bird hunting on Sundays. Finally, the legislation would change the method by which counties could prohibit Sunday hunting by requiring that a majority of voters in a county-wide election approve by referendum.